BODYBOARDING, diving and relays races were all on the menu for youngsters who made a splash for charity.
The children, all under the age of three, tried out the sports at a mini-Olympic Games in the swimming pool of Mary Rose School in Southsea.
The challenge was organised by Hampshire’s branch of Water Babies and held in aid of Tommy’s – a charity which researches the causes of stillbirth, miscarriage and premature birth in a bid to find ways of prevention.
Gordon Watson, 40, of Priory Crescent, Southsea, took his son, Ewan, three, to the event and said he had a whale of a time.
‘It was great fun and the children were all very excited about it,’ he said.
‘Ewan loves his swimming lessons anyway but it was great for him to get a chance to try out something different in the water and have a lot of fun with it.’
Parents of young splashers gathered sponsor money for their children to take part in the various activities. The children were each set a new challenge by their teacher, such swimming underwater or through a hoop.
The event was part of a UK-wide scheme to raise funds for the charity between July and September. So far Water Babies has generated £211,000 for the cause and £11,000 of that was from the Hampshire branch.
Budge Pountney, who runs the county branch with his wife Ali, said: ‘It’s an incredible amount of money – we’re so chuffed we managed to raise that much.
‘Having two young children ourselves brings it to light how important Tommy’s is.
‘It’s easy when your own children are okay not to think about things like stillbirth, but there are so many people out there that have to go through these terrible things, and any charity that helps with that is fantastic.’
Every day in Britain, 315 women have a miscarriage, 10 babies are born stillborn and 161 babies are born too early.
Tommy’s chief executive Jane Brewin said: ‘We’re so grateful for the support that Water Babies provides and the Hampshire franchise has made a great contribution to the overall event.
‘With the funds raised going towards our research into preventing pregnancy complications, they’ve helped us provide the best advice and support and helped us save lots of tiny lives.’